BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

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jserraglio
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BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by jserraglio » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:51 am

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/ ... we-lawsuit

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A Boston Symphony Orchestra flutist was paid $70,000 less than a male counterpart. She sued.

Speaking publicly for the first time about the lawsuit, Elizabeth Rowe says her case has far-reaching implications.

BOSTON – On a winter day 14 years ago, the Boston Symphony Orchestra announced that it had finally found a new principal flutist. The search had not been easy. Two hundred and fifty-one players had applied, 59 were called to Symphony Hall to audition, and when it was over, only one remained.

Elizabeth Rowe, just 29, had landed in one of the country’s “big five” orchestras. And as a principal, she occupied a special seat, the classical musical equivalent of cracking the Yankees’ starting rotation.

“If I could have a dream job, this was it,” Rowe says.

To win the slot, Rowe had taken part in the BSO’s blind auditions, playing her flute onstage behind a brown, 33-foot polyester screen. That way, the orchestra’s 12-member selection committee couldn’t see her and it wouldn’t matter whether she were a man or a woman, black or white. But after Rowe had the job, something important changed. That’s when she believes being a woman hurt her in one key way.

In July, Rowe, 44, filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the BSO seeking $200,000 in back pay. Her lawsuit came after years of appealing privately to management about the roughly $70,000 less a year she is paid than John Ferrillo, 63, the orchestra’s principal oboist. Rowe contends that she should make an equal salary and that she doesn’t because of her gender.

The BSO, in a statement, defended its pay structure, saying that the flute and oboe are not comparable because, in part, the oboe is more difficult to play and there is a larger pool of flutists. Gender, the statement says, “is not one of the factors in the compensation process at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.”

This week, Rowe will enter mediation with the BSO aimed at resolving the conflict before it goes to court.

Speaking publicly for the first time about the lawsuit, Rowe says her case has far-reaching implications. Her lawsuit will be the first against an orchestra to test Massachusetts’ new equal-pay law, its outcome potentially affecting women across the U.S. workforce who are paid less than their male colleagues.

“Money is the one thing that we can look to to measure people’s value in an organization,” Rowe says. “You look at the number of women that graduate from conservatories and then you look at the number of women in the top leadership positions in orchestras, and it’s not 50-50 still. Women need to see equality, and they need to see fairness in order to believe that that’s possible.”

Ferrillo doesn’t just sit next to Rowe in the woodwind section. They’re musically joined at the hip, whether dancing across Debussy or the second movement of Beethoven’s Sixth. They’re also friends and admirers.

They both know what it takes to earn a prominent spot in such a competitive field. Both attended music school, paid their own way to travel to auditions while in their 20s and dealt with rejection. It took Ferrillo 10 years and 22 tries to earn his first symphony position, as second oboe in the San Francisco Symphony in 1985.

But by the time the BSO approached Ferrillo to fill its oboe vacancy, he was a prized member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. In 2001, to lure him away, the BSO paid him twice what the orchestra’s rank-and-file make. The BSO and Ferrillo have a nondisclosure agreement in place, which prohibits disclosure of his salary. But the figure, now $314,600, became public as part of the BSO’s tax filing. (Nonprofit organizations are required to list the top five compensated employees earning more than $100,000.)

Coming in to the BSO in 2004, Rowe had done her homework. She asked to be paid the same salary Ferrillo had negotiated. The orchestra turned her down. Rowe says management also would not make her “overscale” – the term for what all principals routinely receive over their base pay – a percentage of her base, which would allow her to avoid asking for a raise every year. Instead, the BSO offered her $750 a week over base the first year, $950 the second and $1,100 once she earned tenure.

For someone who considers herself a private person – Rowe doesn’t use social media or even have a website, as many professional musicians do – going public has been trying, she says. Even when she decided to sue, Rowe had hoped that only her bosses would know. Instead, a Boston Herald reporter stumbled upon the case and published an article. Even though the stress prompted her to ask a doctor for sleep medication, Rowe says, she has no regrets about filing her suit. She says the BSO gave her no other choice.

In her suit, Rowe alleges that the orchestra ignored her and retaliated when she continued to demand a raise, even pulling an invitation to be interviewed by Katie Couric for a National Geographic TV special on gender equality.

It is the orchestra’s argument – in a response filed with the court – that “the flute and the oboe are not comparable.” In the statement to The Washington Post, the BSO also said the oboe is “second only to the concertmaster (first chair violin) in its leadership role” and is “responsible for tuning the orchestra.” The limited pool of great oboists, the BSO said, “gives oboists more leverage when negotiating compensation.”

Although four other principal BSO players – all men – earn more than Rowe, the orchestra notes that she is paid more than nine other principals, of which only one, harpist Jessica Zhou, is a woman. Rowe has been given occasional raises, and her current salary is $250,149 a year.

Note: Data includes 78 top earners from 21 orchestras. Information provided did not always include the same number of top earners from each orchestra; some places gave information on only one salary while others gave as many as the top eight earners. —

Rowe’s case speaks to a larger reality. There is an undeniable gender gap in the classical music world. A Washington Post analysis of tax records and orchestra rosters shows that although women make up nearly 40 percent of the country’s top orchestras, when it comes to the principal, or titled, slots, 240 of 305 – or 79 percent – are men. The gap is even greater in the “big five” – the orchestras in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and New York. Women occupy just 12 of 73 principal positions in those orchestras.

There is a direct link between principal positions and pay, the Post examination found. Only 14 of the 78 musicians in those top orchestras earning enough to be listed on tax filings are women.

“The numbers don’t lie,” says Sharon Sparrow, the acting principal flute in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. “Statistically, it does seem there’s a problem. This is probably what (Rowe) is thinking. If she were a man hired for this job, she would have been paid the same amount. But she’s not and she’s a woman, and she’s been paid less.”

For women in classical music, the gender gap has always been more about a hunch than a scientific certainty. That’s because pay is determined by complicated factors rooted in history, subjectivity and negotiating strategy. There’s also the highly competitive, ultra-secretive orchestra culture. It’s not a place where compensation is openly discussed.

Michele Zukovsky, who retired as principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2015, remembers mentioning her salary only once to her colleagues in the mid-1960s. She was earning about $350 a week. They snickered, making her think she was overpaid.

“So after that happened, I never spoke about it again,” she says.

In 2017, Brook Ferguson, 37, the principal flute player with the Colorado Symphony, filed a gender discrimination claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Unlike Rowe, Ferguson’s dispute remained private, and she didn’t file a lawsuit, she says, because it would have been too costly. Ferguson, speaking publicly for the first time, shared emails and other documents with The Post in which orchestra management questioned her résumé and offered her a raise only if she waived her legal rights. In the documents, she also complained about a conflict she had had with another orchestra member and about alleged sexually charged comments by the orchestra’s management.

Jerome H. Kern, chief executive and chairman of the board of trustees, says that Ferguson is “highly paid” and that the organization does not make decisions based on gender.

“Our orchestra has more women than men,” Kern says. (In fact, men outnumber women in the Colorado Symphony 48 to 32.) “Our concertmaster is a woman. I think you’d be hard pressed to find another woman on the orchestra who would complain about discrimination by management.”

Ferguson says the emotional toll of the dispute led her to seek therapy and eventually take a year’s sabbatical.

“The hardest thing you can ever possibly do is call your management to task in a public way,” she says. “It’s really considered a betrayal of trust and a betrayal of this idea about these contracts that they’re confidential.”

Orchestra leaders long ago acknowledged one aspect of the gender gap. In 1970, women made up fewer than 5 percent of the players in the big five. The BSO was the first to use a screen, in 1952, and other orchestras followed to create the blind audition process.

The New York Philharmonic, for example, has gone from 90 men and 26 women in 1993 to its current makeup of 48 men and 44 women.

Note: Chart shows calculated averages based on numbers from 14 of the nation’s largest orchestras. Orchestras were included only if they had consistent data for the past 25 years. —

But most orchestras remove the screen for the final round of auditions.

“If it’s for a principal position, we’ll have them play with the whole section,” says Gary Ginstling, executive director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington. “That’s all information which would really help one make a purely artistic decision. But (it does raise) the question of bias that wouldn’t exist if the screen was up.”

Rowe cites this important factor in her case, and, in August, the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians voted to encourage all orchestras to use a screen all the way to the end of auditions. Implicit bias, which has been studied throughout the workforce, is when a manager favors someone without consciously realizing it. Experts say this bias is why women earn 81 cents to a man’s dollar and why, as a recent Cornell University study found, pay declined as more women entered a profession. And other studies show that when managers think they are working within a meritocracy, they are even more likely to favor men.

“The reality is that bias is an equal opportunity and everybody has a likeliness of exhibiting bias,” says Caroline Simard, the managing director of VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab at Stanford University. “It’s a cognitive factor, and it’s more likely to occur in instances where the evaluation criteria is ambiguous and when you’re in information overload. When you’re trying to examine hundreds of musicians.”

Ariana Ghez Farrell, the principal oboist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 2006 to 2017, says bias isn’t always unconscious. She recalls a former teacher offering what he considered friendly advice during an audition in San Francisco: “Play with virility because they’re going to want to hire a man.”

Orchestra managers interviewed by The Post stressed that they do not like that there is a pay gap and concede that women are underrepresented in titled positions. But they think the issue is not bias, but the slow turnover in a field with no mandatory retirement age. In Boston, for example, principal cellist Jules Eskin was in his post for 52 years, from 1964 until his death in 2016. His successor, Blaise Déjardin, is just 34. If he remains as long as Eskin, there will be just one audition for a single principal slot in more than 100 years.

“My personal experience is that I have not seen or found gender bias within the overscale structures that I’ve worked,” says Jonathan Martin, president of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, where 13 of 15 principals are men. “Where I have seen the anomalies happen, it didn’t lean toward male and female.”

The Post investigation, however, showed that the anomalies that can be identified almost always benefit men. Among the top 25 orchestras, 11 women are principal flutists. But none of them show up on the list of 78 highest-paid players compiled by The Post. There are only five flute players (all principals) on that list. All men.

In the group listed in tax filings, there is an instance when the principal flute player is a man and the principal oboe is a woman in the same orchestra. St. Louis Symphony Orchestra flute player Mark Sparks earned $166,191 in 2016, according to the most recent tax documents; principal oboist Jelena Dirks doesn’t rank high enough to be listed on tax returns.

At the Philadelphia Orchestra, principal flutist Jeffrey Khaner earned $268,317 in 2015, the most recent year available, making him among the highest paid in the country. Khaner says his pay increased dramatically only when, as a member of the Cleveland Orchestra in the 1980s, other symphonies started recruiting him.

“Historically, (Rowe’s) only resource would be to say, ‘OK, if you’re not going to pay me, I’m going to go somewhere else,’ ” he says. “That’s what most of us have done. It’s complicated, and I’m glad I’m not a woman. I feel for them in this situation.”

Rowe, 44, has been playing the flute since age 7. She joined the BSO as its principal flutist when she was 29. —Rick Friedman for The Washington Post
Rowe never saw herself as a workplace agitator.

She grew up in Oregon, the daughter of two college professors who loved music. Rowe began playing the flute at age 7, earned her music degree at the University of Southern California and scored her first titled position, as principal flute of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, in 1998 at age 23. She was the assistant principal flute in the National Symphony Orchestra when she auditioned in Boston.

Rowe brought stability to the BSO when she arrived in 2004. Doriot Anthony Dwyer, the BSO’s first female principal, was principal flute from 1952 to 1990, but the position was vacant for 10 of the next 14 years.

Ferrillo, who had arrived in Boston three years earlier, was excited about Rowe’s appointment. Like any new player, she faced a one-year probationary period. But Ferrillo wasn’t about to wait to see whether Rowe would earn tenure. Before opening night her first season, he threw a party for her.

“One of my colleagues, he said, ‘Boy, you’re optimistic,’ ” Ferrillo said in a recent interview at Symphony Hall. “I just had an immediate sense. She’s a remarkably poised and gracious person. Her playing was fantastic. The sense of center and pitch about it. The artistic approach. I just didn’t have any doubt about it.”

At the request of Rowe’s attorneys, Ferrillo wrote a statement of support for his colleague. In his court filing, he refers to Rowe as his “equal” partner and says she is “every bit my match in skills, if not more so.”

But Ferrillo stops short of endorsing Rowe’s specific salary demand, saying he doesn’t think it’s his place to tell BSO management how much it should pay anyone.

“I don’t even know if I am worth a specific amount of dollars,” he says.

John Ferrillo, at home in Brighton, Massachusetts, in November, is the BSO’s principal oboe player and a close friend of Rowe’s. He has expressed support for Rowe, who says she should be paid a salary equal to his. —Katye Martens Brier for The Washington Post
Even though Ferrillo stresses that he has great respect for BSO management, he doesn’t agree with one of the orchestra’s central arguments: that oboists are worth more than flute players.

“Is the oboe a leading voice? Yes, it is,” he says. “Is it difficult? Yes, it is. Is the flute difficult? Ever looked at a flute part? They’ve got to play a million notes. The technical standards are astounding. Every instrument has its own private hell.”

Rowe’s prominence has increased over time. She has been a featured soloist at 28 BSO concerts in 14 years, more than any other principal player and seven more times than Ferrillo during that period. She has often been featured on orchestra publicity materials and, in June, was asked to include a personal appeal on a mass mailing aimed at increasing subscriber donations.

Rowe also thought that resolving her pay dispute, doing what seems right, could offer a dose of good publicity in an industry riddled with controversy. There were the sexual misconduct allegations that would eventually sweep out, among others, former Metropolitan Opera and BSO music director James Levine and Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster William Preucil. (Levine, who denies the charges, is suing the Met; Preucil was dismissed from the orchestra after an independent investigation.)

“There has not been a lot of good press in our industry recently around women and the treatment of women,” Rowe says, “and I genuinely saw this as a really great opportunity for the orchestra to have something positive to stand for.”

But instead, she says, BSO management responded to her latest proposal, in March, with silence. She found that “devastating.”

Only on Aug. 25, nearly two months after Rowe had filed her suit, did the BSO email to let her know it would boost her salary from $236,303 to $250,149 as “the result of our normal annual salary review process and not as a result of your lawsuit.” The raise would narrow the gap with Ferrillo from $70,497 to $64,451.

Rowe’s hope is that the BSO will resolve her case in mediation later this week or that a court will side with her. One key aspect of the state’s equal-pay law is that a worker’s past salary history isn’t relevant and can’t be used to defend an employer from liability. That is meant to offset the historic imbalance in the workplace.

She has no interest in leaving Boston, where her husband, violinist Glen Cherry, also is a member of the orchestra.

“I love the Boston Symphony. It is my artistic home,” she says. “It’s where I want to be.”

Rowe knows her case is being watched closely. She has received notes of support from other players, at smaller orchestras, who say they’re too scared to speak up publicly. She also heard from Jeanne Baxtresser, 71, a former principal flutist at the New York Philharmonic who hopes Rowe’s case will close a gender gap she considers “outrageous.”

“It’s so irrational – that the facts are known and this wasn’t resolved immediately,” says Baxtresser, who retired in 1998. “These people do beautiful jobs, they sit beside each other. They contribute magnificently. How can you possibility sustain this thing that’s patently unfair?”

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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by John F » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:56 am

During Seiji Ozawa's later years, he was extremely reluctant to fill the position of principal flute. Years went by with no action. Finally in 1997 a new principal took his seat: Jacques Zoon, a Dutchman who plays a wooden flute. Four years later he was gone. Again there was delay of years, then in 2004 Elisabeth Rowe got the job.

A relevant comparison wouldn't be with the player of some other instrument but with her predecessor. I don't know how much Zoon was paid, but since he had previously been principal flute of the Concertgebouw Orchestra and, Wikipedia says, the Berlin Philharmonic. One would expect a neophyte like Rowe, regardless of sex, to be paid less.

However, the comparison has been made. John Ferrillo, the BSO's principal oboe since 2001, was previously principal oboe at the Metropolitan Opera for 14 years. Seniority apart, he is in the royal line of oboists descended from the great Marcel Tabuteau, having studied with John de Lancie. I'd expect, though I don't know, that he's paid more than the principal oboists in other major American orchestras.
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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by jserraglio » Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:33 am

O, reason not the need! The BSO should pay the woman and be done with it. Not to mention, they've already profited off the use of her name, words and youthful image to sell tickets and solicit donations.
Rowe’s prominence has increased over time. She has been a featured soloist at 28 BSO concerts in 14 years, more than any other principal player and seven more times than Ferrillo during that period. She has often been featured on orchestra publicity materials and, in June, was asked to include a personal appeal on a mass mailing aimed at increasing subscriber donations.
Pay comparisons between players in the same orchestra from different decades (e.g., Rowe in 2018 to Zoon in 2001) are questionable if not misleading. More to the point would be pay comparisons with contemporary principal flutists from bands like Philly or Chicago.

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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by Lance » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:28 pm

I hope she wins her case and sets a new precedent. Is there any merit to paying some orchestral artists more because of their length of service to an orchestra, especially first-chair folks? Nonetheless, I would say these salaries many make are excellent and higher than some might expect. This could get into a big debate. I know conductors with the best-known names have huge salaries. One wonders, however, how long this can all go on given the demise of people attending concerts even with major orchestras or in opera houses. Tickets in many places are already not affordable for many.
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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by jserraglio » Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:24 am

Lance wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:28 pm
I hope she wins her case and sets a new precedent. Is there any merit to paying some orchestral artists more because of their length of service to an orchestra, especially first-chair folks? Nonetheless, I would say these salaries many make are excellent and higher than some might expect. This could get into a big debate. I know conductors with the best-known names have huge salaries. One wonders, however, how long this can all go on given the demise of people attending concerts even with major orchestras or in opera houses. Tickets in many places are already not affordable for many.
I imagine a player of Rowe's stature has extensive professional obligations to fund. How far does even a quarter of a million bucks go for somebody like her in contemporary Boston?
Last edited by jserraglio on Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by maestrob » Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:41 am

jserraglio wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:24 am
Lance wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:28 pm
I hope she wins her case and sets a new precedent. Is there any merit to paying some orchestral artists more because of their length of service to an orchestra, especially first-chair folks? Nonetheless, I would say these salaries many make are excellent and higher than some might expect. This could get into a big debate. I know conductors with the best-known names have huge salaries. One wonders, however, how long this can all go on given the demise of people attending concerts even with major orchestras or in opera houses. Tickets in many places are already not affordable for many.
I imagine a player of Rowe's stature has extensive professional obligations to fund. How far does even a quarter of a million bucks go for somebody like her in contemporary Boston?
In Manhattan, it wouldn't go very far. Studio apartments regularly sell here for a cool $1,000,000, and a one bedroom for quite a bit more in new buildings. There is a one bedroom in our building that's on offer for $750,000, but although well maintained and renovated, it was built during the early 1970's.

Life in coastal cities is hideously expensive: we regularly spend $200/wk. on supermarket trips. Yikes!

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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by jserraglio » Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:44 am

Not to mention: Paying for a child to attend an elite university could easily set Ms. Rowe back 1/4 of her yearly salary.

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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by maestrob » Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:49 am

jserraglio wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:44 am
Not to mention: Paying for a child to attend an elite university could easily set Ms. Rowe back 1/4 of her yearly salary.
That's certainly true, but Democrats have recently passed a bill in Albany (our state legislature) that funds FREE education at CUNY/SUNY if the student makes plans to live & work in NY for a certain length of time. We're the first state to have this kind of program in the country.

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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by jserraglio » Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:12 am

maestrob wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:49 am
jserraglio wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:44 am
Not to mention: Paying for a child to attend an elite university could easily set Ms. Rowe back 1/4 of her yearly salary.
That's certainly true, but Democrats have recently passed a bill in Albany (our state legislature) that funds FREE education at CUNY/SUNY if the student makes plans to live & work in NY for a certain length of time. We're the first state to have this kind of program in the country.
Likewise, tuition at the old NW Territory's land-grant universities (Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio) is a bargain: excellent education to boot. I could afford them for my three kids. And NY is so progressive, who wouldn't want to live there after college? Sadly, though, Rowe makes her home in Beantown.

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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by Heck148 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:42 am

This is a complicated question - and has many parallels with the sports world....major orchestra contracts generally set a minimum salary scale that will apply to all core contract members....principals will negotiate their own salaries above the minimum. there is no set scale for principals, there might be a minimum, but generally the principals are working their own deals.
this is very much like the professional sports world, with some inflated salaries, perceived value, free agent status, etc....once free agents, players are free to seek out and accept the highest bid for their services...
as with sports, the professional orchestra world definitely has a free market aspect which is basic to the process...musicians may go after the best deal they can find, if they are inclined to change orchestras.....ie - years ago, early 90s, Ray Still, long-time principal oboe of Chicago SO retired...the orchestra was on the hunt for a replacement, obviously of the very top quality....They invited Dick Woodhams [PhilaOrch oboe I] to come out and play, liked him and offered him a substantial salary, more than he was getting in Philadelphia...Woodhams certainly considered the offer, seriously, but he wanted to stay in Philadelphia, where he was well-established.....he went to the PhilaOrch mgt and said that he had a good offer from CSO, he was inclined to take it, but if Philadelphia would match the offer, he would stay put in Philly. the PhilaOrch mgt wanted to keep him, so they matched the offer, and Woodhams remained in Philadelphia...
so...now, the principal oboe salary has suddenly jumped up quite a few notches - does this mean that all principals must be increased to keep things "equal"?? because one musician takes advantage of the free market, does that mean everyone else in the same category must be increased as well?? I don't think so...
But, OTOH, i don't buy the BSO mgt's argument that fine oboe players are a rarer commodity than fine flute players and thus should be paid more...the present audition process, to me, renders that argument false...when a big vacancy is announced - there will be hundreds, possibly thousands of interested applicants...When the BSO auditioned for the principal bassoon position in early 90s, IIRC, over 500 bassoonists submitted resumes....I'm sure a like number of oboists would apply for that position, and may a couple thousand flutists would apply for a principal spot...from these hundreds of applicants, the committee culls thru them, going on criteria such as positions held, present positions, teachers, training, conservatory, etc..they will probably invite a couple of hundred applicants to submit tapes of required music and excerpts. so, regardless of the original number of applicants, the audition committee is going to quickly reduce it to manageable numbers.....they will listen to these tapes, and from that listening, invite a few candidates to come and audition in person....probably 8 -15, maybe a few more, but
I'm guessing not more than 20...they want to hear them all on one day..
from these few live auditions, a couple of finalists will be selected, the conductor gets involved, and the candidates may be invited to play a concert series with the orchestra...
The point is - there are hundreds of fine musicians going for these jobs - maybe the original pool of flutists is larger than the pool of oboists or bassoonists, but these numbers are going to be quickly equalized by the process....the finalists, whatever instrument, will be 10 or so candidates, all of whom are very fine musicians, and likely, all reasonable candidates for the job...
I don't buy the argument that there are more good flutists, therefore they should earn less...
that leaves us with the various principals negotiating for their own salaries, and there may well be a sexist slant to this. but, the forces of the free market place have to be considered as well, and they are a stark reality....this case has some interesting complications, for sure...
it will be interesting to see if some sort of compromise solution arises from this case....

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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by John F » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:20 am

This is great stuff, Heck148. Thanks for posting it.

On a different level, it occurs to me that to be a top oboist, or an oboist period, involves a skill that flutists don't have or need. For every rehearsal and performance, the oboist makes part of his/her instrument, the reed. He has to find and buy top quality reeds; shaping and preparing them is delicate and time-consuming work; and after all that, the reed will only last 10-15 hours of playing before it must be discarded and replaced. I don't know whether oboists play rehearsals with used-up reeds, saving their best for the actual concerts; if not, if they're always using their best, those 15 hours of playing may be used up in a week or two, depending on the repertoire. Life is much simpler and I should think rather cheaper for flutists.
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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by Heck148 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:12 pm

John F wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:20 am
This is great stuff, Heck148. Thanks for posting it.

On a different level, it occurs to me that to be a top oboist, or an oboist period, involves a skill that flutists don't have or need. ...... Life is much simpler and I should think rather cheaper for flutists.
Each instrument has its unique challenges....Bassoonists and oboists have to make their own reds which is an art form in itself - time consuming and pretty intense....but flutists have their challenges as well....technical demands that are akin to violinists - billions of notes per concert....I would be very hesitant to say that one instrument is inherently more difficult, therefore, worth higher pay than another instrument.
I could see a system in which the orchestra established a uniform starting pay for all principals, that would be in effect until tenure is attained....at that point, the musicians could then approach the management, individually to work their own deals, just as pro sports athletes do...or perhaps - the principal rates would remain uniform, and increase identically for all as various points of longevity are reached - 3 year increase, 6 yr, 10 yr, etc.....I don't know, and I also don't know how much, or if, the sexism is part of the process at present.

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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by Beckmesser » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:44 pm

Apparently Ms. Rowe has reached a settlement with the BSO.

maestrob
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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by maestrob » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:00 am

The article doesn't say anything about the terms of the settlement, understandably, but it does mention that she has been a featured soloist on numerous occasions with the orchestra. I'm glad an agreement was reached so quickly so that everyone can get on with living their lives.

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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by Lance » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:04 pm

One wonders, nonetheless, how the BSO top people feel about having a lawsuit and having to pay, and still keeping the artist on their roster. Might they be looking for anything and everything that may led to her leaving the orchestra? Will they continue to feature her as they have in the past?
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Re: BSO to Flutist: You're Worth Less Than an Oboist

Post by Heck148 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:47 am

Lance wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:04 pm
Might they be looking for anything and everything that may led to her leaving the orchestra? Will they continue to feature her as they have in the past?
We'll see, but one would hope that there wouldn't be any retribution as such....it would certainly be grounds for Ms. Rowe to file an action for management retaliation against her....which means more lawsuits, more $$ spent...

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